Gastrointestinal Tract

Gastro-intestinal diseases include a number of illnesses that affect the anatomical region of the same name. From the list of abnormalities some of the main group of diseases can be identified, which include infectious and noninfectious (depending on the nature of occurrence) diseases affecting stomach, esophagus, small intestine, large intestine, as well as hereditary and acquired diseases.

Risk factors for the development of pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract include: poor nutrition, which includes products for the imbalance in protein, fat and carbohydrate on the structure, as well as irrational combination. Violation of diet, when food intake is rare, but large portions, the abuse of sharp spices and fast food products. In addition to the above mentioned, the appearance of the disease can be caused by smoking, alcohol abuse, drugs, prolonged use of drugs, contact with infectious patients, violation of the rules of hygiene when preparing food, and living in ecologically unfavorable regions, as well as a genetic predisposition to gastrointestinal diseases.

The main symptoms of gastrointestinal disease are abdominal pain in stomach of different nature and localization, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea, and the appearance of plaque in the language, the appearance of halitosis, rumbling in the stomach, increased flatulence, aversion to certain groups of products and excessive salivation.

Violation of the gastrointestinal tract has an adverse impact on the whole organism, the metabolism, immunity decreases and the deteriorating condition of the skin. Often, only a qualified medical assistance can help to radically improve the situation.

The gastrointestinal tract consists of many organs and glands, which are involved in the process of supplying of the human body with nutrients that are necessary for its normal functioning and development. Starting from the mouth and ending with rectum, digestive organs permeate almost the entire human body.

Huge impact on the digestive system can be shown by the state of oral cavity, endocrine system, and the presence of infections in the human body. The frequency of visits to a gastroenterologist and the general condition of the digestive system of the person depends on the number of factors. These, above all, are correct nutrition, absence/presence of stress, the environmental situation in the region etc.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal tract are very diverse and depend directly on the organ structure.

Among the common symptoms that accompany diseases of the digestive system, are:

  • loss of appetite
  • heartburn and regurgitation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • weight loss
  • disorder chair
  • weakness
  • flatulence

Among the diseases of the gastrointestinal tract are the most common inflammatory diseases of its various organs, characterized by acute or chronic nature:

  • gastritis – inflammation of the stomach
  • esophagitis – esophageal
  • colitis and enteritis – large and small intestines
  • hepatitis – a liver
  • proctitis – rectum
  • duodenitis – a duodenal ulcer
  • Pancreatitis – the pancreas
  • cholangitis and cholecystitis – the bile ducts and gall bladder

Inflammatory diseases of the digestive system have a detrimental effect on the mucous membrane, impair motor function of the digestive system and eventually lead to the emergence of: ulcerative colitis, cholelithiasis, duodenal ulcers and stomach. A serious problem found in large numbers of people today, including infants is intestinal dysbiosis.

Diseases of the bowels, pancreas and stomach are often the primary cause of most skin diseases and metabolism.

Motion sickness and its prevention

Motion sickness is thought to be caused by a conflict of messages to the brain, where the vomiting centre receives information from the eyes, the Gastrointestinal tract and the vestibular system in the ear. Symptoms of motion sickness include nausea and sometimes vomiting, pallor and cold sweats. Parents commonly seek advice about how to prevent motion sickness in children, in whom the problem is most common.


Indigestion (dyspepsia) is commonly presented in community pharmacies and is often self-diagnosed by patients, who use the term to include anything from pain in the chest and upper abdomen to lower abdominal symptoms. Many patients use the terms indigestion and heartburn interchangeably.


Community pharmacists may be asked by patients to treat existing diarrhea or to offer advice on what course of action to take should diarrhea occur, e.g. to holidaymakers. Diarrhoea is defined as an increased frequency of bowel evacuation, with the passage of abnormally soft or watery feces.

Gastrointestinal disorders

Many common symptoms relate to dysfunction or disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Digestive diseases afflict 12% of all American adults and account for 16% of all absences from work. In a study of 25,000 illnesses in a group of Cleveland families, acute diarrheal illness was one of the most common illnesses reported, second only to the common cold.

Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers are extremely common, affecting as many as one in five of the population, and are a recurrent problem in some people. They are classified as aphthous (minor or major) or herpetiform ulcers. Most cases (more than three quarters) are minor aphthous ulcers, which are self-limiting.

Drugs and Esophageal pH Profiles

In 1935, Asher Winkelstein first described gastroesophageal reflux disease in its present guise. His paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association reviewed five cases that he described as “peptic esophagitis” with damage to the esophageal mucosa attributed to the reflux of corrosive acidic digestive juices.


Hemorrhoids (commonly known as piles) can produce symptoms of itching, burning, pain, swelling and discomfort in the perianal area and anal canal and rectal bleeding. Haemorrhoids are swollen veins, rather like varicose veins, which protrude into the anal canal (internal piles).


Constipation is a condition that is difficult to define and is often self-diagnosed by patients. Generally, it is characterised by the passage of hard, dry stools less frequently than by the person’s normal pattern.

Helicobacter pylori

The patient swallows a fixed amount of urea, labelled with a carbon isotope (13C or l4C) as a test meal after a 4 h fast. If Helicobacter pylori (HP) is present, the urea is rapidly broken down to l3C or l4C carbon dioxide, which is measured in a breath sample taken 30 min later.


Symptoms of heartburn are caused when there is reflux of gastric contents, particularly acid, into the oesophagus, which irritate the sensitive mucosal surface (oesophagitis). Patients will often describe the symptoms of heartburn – typically a burning discomfort/pain felt in the stomach, passing upwards behind the breastbone (retrosternally). By careful questioning, the pharmacist can distinguish conditions that are potentially more serious.